Boating Responsibly

Boating responsibly depends on you, your equipment and other people who, like yourself, enjoy spending leisure time on, in or near the water. You are responsible for the safety of everyone aboard your vessel at all times.

Boating Responsibly Tips

  • Make sure your boat is in top operating condition and that there are no tripping hazards. Your boat should be free of fire hazards and have clean bilges.
  • Carry safety equipment required by law on board, maintained in good condition, and know how to properly use these devices including signaling and sound-making devices.
  • File a float plan with a relative or friend. In case of an emergency, they'll have pertinent information, allowing them to contact the local marine police or Coast Guard with necessary details.
  • Have a complete knowledge of the operation and handling characteristics of your boat.
  • Know your position and where you are going. Learn how your GPS works and carry a nautical chart in case you can’t use your GPS system.
  • Maintain a safe speed at all times to avoid collision. You must always operate your vessel at a safe controlled speed.
  • Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and act accordingly. Tune in your radio to receive weather updates.
  • Know and practice the navigation rules. Know and obey federal and state regulations and waterway markers.
  • Maintain a clear, unobstructed view forward at all times. “scan” the water and avoid “tunnel” vision. Most boating collisions are caused by inattention.

Video courtesy of

Learn more about different types of Buoys and Markers in our next section.